Public Health Research Guide

Electronic Reference Books
Government Documents


This guide is intended to provide an introduction to resources available through the University of Lethbridge Library in the field of Public Health.

The items listed below represent only a sample of available resources. To locate additional sources, or to obtain assistance using the sources listed below, please ask at the Library's Information and Reference Assistance Desk on Level 10 of the Library, or call 403-329-2263 or 877-382-7113 (toll-free).

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Finding Journal Articles: Indexes/Databases.  The most current research on any academic topic is usually found in journal articles. Electronic indexes (databases) provide access to this information, allowing you to search for articles on a specific subject.  In addition to journal article citations, indexes/databases usually provide abstracts (short descriptions or summaries of articles), and sometimes they provide the actual journal article itself (full text). Some of these indexes/databases cover not only journal articles but also newspaper articles, dissertations, conference proceedings, book chapters, government publications, and other types of information.

Public Health Resources.  The most useful indexes/databases for finding information on topics in Public Health are available from the Library's Public Health Resources page.  Please keep in mind that you might also find useful information in some of our Nursing databases, or in Psychology, Sociology, or other areas, depending on your topic.  The coverage of databases can vary in terms of the publication time period covered, topics, specific titles included, types of information sources indexed, and so on.  It will often be necessary to consult more than one index/database to find what you're looking for.

Finding Full Text.  Note that some journal indexes/databases contain the full text of journal articles in addition to the article citation. (An article citation usually includes the article author(s), article title, journal title, publication year, journal volume number, journal issue number, and page numbers of a given journal article.) If the index you are searching does not provide the full text, click on the Find Full Text button near the citation in the index you are searching to find out if the Library subscribes to that journal in either print or electronic form. You can also do a Journal Title search in the Library Catalogue to see if the Library has the journal you are seeking in its holdings or provides access to it electronically.

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Search the Library Catalogue to find books on Health-related topics.  The Library Catalogue can also be used to find audiovisual materials, government publications, microforms, and electronic resources.  You can search the catalogue for specific titles, works by a particular author, items on a specific subject, or in a particular format. 

Two kinds of subject searches can be carried out:  Keyword and (Library of Congress) Subject Heading.  Subject Headings are specific terms assigned in a consistent way to help you find information about a particular topic.   

Find books with the subject heading "Public Health"

Find lists of other terms related to "Public Health"

You can also subscribe to an RSS feed to view new titles received by the library.

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Electronic Reference Books

Looking for a quick fact, a definition, or some background information? Search for online reference books (dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks) that the library has -- accessible from home with your U of L login -- and find quick, reliable information.

To access electronic reference books on public health issues in the Library's collection, click the E-Reference Books for Public Health link below.  From the resulting list, click on a title to display its full catalogue record, then click the link labeled "access title online" to display the full-text of the e-book.

E-Reference Books for Public Health

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Listed below are examples of web sites where you will find information relevant to Public Health. Remember that not all information found on the web is appropriate for academic purposes.

For help with evaluating information found on the web, see the Library's How-To Guide on this subject.


Alberta Health and Wellness

HealthInAction (Alberta)

Alberta Coalition for Healthy School Communities


Health Canada
Located at McMaster University, this website supports evidence-informed decision making by providing a searchable registry of systematically prepared reviews and meta-analyses of public health related research from a variety of electronic and print sources.

Health in Canada (quick facts - Statistics Canada)

Public Health Agency of Canada

Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Canadian Institute for Health Information

Statistics Canada Health Page

Canadian Collaboration for Public Health Evidence

National Collaborating Centers for Public Health


My Public Health

What is Public Health (USA)

Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (USA)

Centre of Excellence in Public Health Informatics

Pfizer Public Health & Policy Group

American Public Health Association


Database of Online Health Statistics
Provides access to freely available web-based statistics generated by national and global agencies and research groups.

European Union Public Health Information System (EUPHIX)

World Health Organization (WHO)

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Dictionaries define the terminology of a discipline. Encyclopedias give background information on a wide variety of topics, and often include references for further research. These might be great places to start if you're researching in an area with which you are unfamiliar.  Some examples of Dictionaries & Encyclopedias related to Health Sciences are:

Encyclopedia of Global Health

Encyclopedia of Epidemiology

The Gale Encyclopedia of Nursing & Allied Health.

Encyclopedia of Primary Prevention and Health Promotion

Dictionary of Environmental Health (electronic)

Mosby's Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Health Professions (electronic)

Mosby's Dictionary of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (electronic)

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Government Documents

Governments publish a wealth of information related to the Health Sciences. Most Canadian and Alberta government publications are located in the Government Documents collection on Level 10. You will also find some government publications, both federal and provincial, in the Main Collection on Levels 9 and 10.

Many government publications are now available in electronic format; electronic government documents can often be accessed via the Library Catalogue. 

Library Catalogue
The Library online catalogue is the first place to check for government publications. It includes all federal and Alberta publications, including many in electronic form. A few publications from other provinces can also be found using the catalogue.

Library Web Page - Government Information Section
Provides many useful links to provincial, national, and international government information including a section on help with finding and citing government publications. Included are links to a variety of government departments and agencies, where many electronic documents can be found.

Statistics Canada Site
The Statistics Canada site provides access to a wealth of statistical information by subject. Many Statistics Canada publications, both print and electronic, are also accessible via the Library Catalogue.

Canadian Research Index
Access this index via Library's Web Page, "Indexes/Databases" subpage. This is the most comprehensive available index to all government publications, both federal and provincial. Entries include Microlog numbers, which can be used to access provincial publications on microfiche in the Library's Microlog collection. Look for the Microlog collection in the Microforms area on Level 11 (call number: J 103 M5).

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The resources listed here provide you with guidance in becoming familiar with aspects of public health related inquiry, research, and practice. 

Online Learning Modules (National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools)
Introduction to Evidence-Informed Decision Making (May 2010)
Critical Appraisal of Intervention Studies (January 2011)

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If you have difficulty finding or using the information you require:

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 Maintained by
 Content Revised: September 22, 2011
 Content Created: November 25, 2008

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